CCFOI Meeting Minutes – April 26, 2017

Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Minutes, April 26, 2017

The meeting was a teleconference in place of the scheduled but canceled April 19 meeting.

Present: Dan Klau, Marcia Chambers, Michele Jacklin, Mary Connolly, Mitch Pearlman, Jeff Daniels, Chris Powell, Gary Gold, Jim Smith, Tom Scheffey, Colleen Murphy, Paula Pearlman, Mary Schwind, Steve Nevas, Zach Janowski, John Bailey.

The minutes of the March 22, 2017 meeting were accepted.

Treasurer’s report: George Lombardi’s monthly report was accepted. There is a balance of $6,609.47.

Legislative report: There was discussion of Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s proposal to analyze state business incentive programs. Klau said it is more good government than open government. In relation to this proposal, we will emphasize our support of transparency issues.

Bailey reported progress on the FOIC budget. No additional cuts have been proposed and $44,000 that was authorized but held back is now in the budget. He also said the bill targeting so-called vexatious users of the FOI act appears to be moving forward.

CT-N: There was discussion of a legislative proposal to limit and restrict coverage by the Connecticut Network, which is owned and funded by the legislature. The nonprofit Connecticut Public Affairs Network runs CT-N, under a contract with the legislature that runs out in a few months. A request for proposals informs bidders that the legislature wants a change in approach by CT-N. Without permission from the legislature, CT-N will no longer be allowed to cover such activities as news conferences by governors, FOIC hearings, arguments before the Supreme Court or public affairs events around the state. Only legislative activities would be covered.

There is concern this will diminish the news available to taxpayers and become a point of contention when the legislature and the governor’s office are held by opposing political parties.

It was agreed that Klau will respond to reporters’ inquiries, opposing these limits on CT-N coverage.

Annual meeting: It was agreed the meeting will be at the Pond House Café, 1555 Asylum Ave., West Hartford, on June 21, if the Pond House can accommodate us. If an alternative date is needed, we will try for another day in that third week of June.

We are looking for award nominees for the 2017 awards to be given out at the annual meeting. Please send nominations to Mitch Pearlman. The Bice Clemow award honors a non-journalist. The Stephen A. Collins award goes to a journalist. Champion of Open Government awards go to journalists and non-journalists.

Looking ahead: The next CCFOI meeting will be May 17 at noon at Wood-n-Tap.